Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Liverpool turn down luxury Qatar Fifa Club World Cup hotel over labour abuse findings

Champions League winners put off by investigation into working conditions

Liverpool have rejected the five-star hotel they were due to stay in over human rights issues. Reuters
Liverpool have rejected the five-star hotel they were due to stay in over human rights issues. Reuters

Liverpool has turned down a five-star hotel in Qatar as its Fifa Club World Cup base because of human rights concerns.

An investigation revealed employees were being paid just £8 a day for 12-hour shifts in soaring temperatures and labour laws were being breached.

The team is due to head to the Middle East in December for the Fifa Club World Cup, a competition for which they qualified after winning the Champions League in June.

The Reds were offered the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, which offers £12,000 a night stays in its royal suite on a man-made island off Doha.

An investigation by a British newspaper revealed the security guards at the hotel, which is run by a chain based in Switzerland, were working 12-hour shifts in 45°C, earning little more than $10 (Dh36.70) a day.

Workers at the Kempinski Hotels paid recruitment fees as high as $4,000 to work there, becoming indebted and easily pressured into working long hours with few days off.

Liverpool turned down the offer to stay there and found alternative accommodation, The Athletic reported.

Liverpool have “informed Fifa and Qatari authorities of their decision and have relocated to a hotel on the mainland that did not generate any such worries”, it reported.

Kempinski Hotels told The National that it had conducted an investigation and taken action to remedy the situation and all concerns have been addressed.

"Due to the significance of these allegations, last year we launched a thorough supplementary investigation into the claims raised by the publication," a spokesman said.

"We took swift, decisive remedial action with subcontracting companies involved and are assured that the concerns raised have been addressed, but we continue to monitor the situation closely.

"At Kempinski Hotels, we are wholly committed to abiding by the highest ethical standards and to providing a safe, fair and supportive working environment for all staff.

"That is why we uphold local labour laws and regulations and require that all our suppliers do the same."

Liverpool are due to play their first Club World Cup fixture at the semi-final stage on December 19 at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

The team has had problems with fixture clashes because of the event, which led manager Jurgen Klopp to threaten the club would withdraw from the Carabao Cup, despite beating Arsenal in the final 16 last week.

Their Carabao tie with Aston Villa is scheduled for December 18.

The team’s decision to change hotels is likely to increase scrutiny on Qatar over migrant worker abuse as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar has spent Dh12.12 billion on 12 stadiums in its race to be ready but the migrant workers building them are being paid just Dh3.80 an hour, it has been revealed.

More than 1,400 migrants have died since work commenced because of poor conditions and human rights groups forecast the death toll could rise to 4,000 by 2022.

Qatar’s Sports Minister this year apologised for the deaths.

Despite opening a local office in Qatar, the UN’s International Labour Organisation has conceded that it does not have the tools to force local authorities to improve conditions.

It has asked Qatar to end abuse of migrant workers.

There are an estimated 2 million migrant workers in Qatar, many of whom work in the construction industry and come from Asian countries.

Updated: November 6, 2019 11:40 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks